While there are still some free agents that need to be sorted out, the offseason is clearly winding down with spring training just a couple of weeks away. This is particularly true for the the Houston Astros as they finally made their big move with the addition of Josh Hader to their bullpen. With the move, the Astros appear to be largely done with making moves and look as though they are in a good spot heading into spring training.
One of the more exciting parts of spring training is getting to see the prospects that are expected to play a part of a team's future play in the field. While the games "don't count" and most of the guys that the Astros decide to bring into camp have little to no chance of making the team right away, what spring training does provide is an opportunity to get on fans' and the team's radars especially when it comes to the players that aren't necessarily considered top prospects just yet.
For this exercise, we are going to look at some of the prospects that could show out this spring who aren't the big name guys. For guys like Jacob Melton, Spencer Arrighetti, and Joey Loperfido, they are known commodities at this point and no one should be surprised if they have good springs. What is fun, though, is to see prospects that don't get a ton of press (yet) and who force themselves into consideration for big league roster spots down the line.
With that in mind, here is a look at a few of the Astros' prospects that could surprise folks and have some big performances in spring training.
While his dad put together a big league career as a reliever that is Hall of Fame worthy, Will Wagner has forged his own baseball career as an infielder. After playing for four years at Liberty University, the Astros selected Wagner with their 18th round pick in the 2021 draft. That pick has proven to be a bargain as Wagner has quietly established himself as one of the better bats in Houston's farm system.
Wagner can just flat out hit. While he does have some limited upside due to a relative lack of power, his strike zone awareness is top notch and over the last three seasons, he has put up a .290/.390/.440 slash line in the minors while mashing his way all the way to Triple-A. A strong performance in the Arizona Fall League in 2022 only cemented his status as a guy to keep an eye on.
Given his profile, Wagner is exactly the kind of guy that could make some waves in spring training. He knows what he wants to do at the plate and his experience should allow him to immediately make an impact in spring games while everyone is trying to get into game shape. While there is little chance that he makes the big league roster right out of spring given that the Astros' infield is largely set already, don't be surprised if he makes some noise and sticks around big league camp for a while especially if he gets consideration as an lefty hitting outfield option.